By Morton A. Klein, www.JPost.com
Imad Sa’ad is a 25-year old Palestinian Authority (PA) police officer
who has been arrested by Mahmoud Abbas’s forces for providing Israel
with information about the whereabouts of four accused Palestinian
terrorists. The PA had been unwilling to hand over to Israel the four
men whom Sa’ad helped it locate. For this act, Sa’ad has been
convicted as a “collaborator” in a PA court in Hebron by a judge
belonging to Abbas’s Fatah party and sentenced to death by firing squad.
Now wait a minute. The Oslo agreements require the PA to extradite to
Israel wanted terrorists and to cooperate with Israel in combating
terrorism. Under the 2003 road map peace plan, the PA is required to
“disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning
violent attacks on Israelis anywhere,” which is exactly what Imad
Sa’ad did. In fact, what Sa’ad did should be routine conduct by PA police.
Instead, it is an exceptional act punishable by death.
Imagine the situation if we were discussing Israel. There cannot be
any doubt that, if an Israeli police officer had tipped off the PA
about an impending terror attack by a Jew upon Palestinians, Israel
would be honoring him as a hero. It would certainly not be arresting
him and sentencing him to death – and there would be (correctly)
outrage if it did. Yet, the PA is doing precisely this – and has done
so many times in the past.
FAR FROM cooperating in the fight against terrorism, the PA has a
long record of executing what it terms “collaborators.” Amnesty
International reported in 2003 that “Scores of Palestinians suspected of
‘collaboration’ with Israeli intelligence services were unlawfully
killed. Most of these killings seemed to have been carried out by
members of armed groups or by armed individuals. Some appeared to be
extrajudicial executions carried out by members of Palestinian
security services. The PA consistently failed to investigate these
killings and none of the perpetrators was brought to justice.”
Despite this episode and Abbas’s continuing promotion of terrorism,
refusal to arrest terrorists, and incitement to hatred and violence
within the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps,
President George W. Bush persists in saying of Mahmoud Abbas that
“The president is a man of peace… He’s a man of vision. He rejects
the idea of using violence to achieve objectives.”
Also, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised Mahmoud Abbas this
week while visiting Ramallah, and particularly his leadership of the
security services, saying, “It takes some time to deal with the
effects of the intifada, but a lot of it has to do with responsible
actions by the Palestinian government and the Palestinian Authority
which are really now in place… And because of that, I think you are
going to see improvements on the West Bank.”
This is unmerited praise, to put it mildly. Instead, this event
should serve as a clear, straightforward litmus test: Does Mahmoud
Abbas support preventing terrorism and jailing terrorists? Is he
opposed to terrorism? Does he regard terrorism as the enemy of the
peace to which he tells Western audiences he is dedicated? If so, he
should be applauding and honoring Imad Sa’ad for doing his duty in
fighting terror and assisting the Israelis in doing so, as per the PA’s signed
obligations under Oslo and the road map. At the very least, he
should be immediately releasing Imad Sa’ad from prison. In reality, he has
done the opposite and may even have him executed.
IRONICALLY, AT the very time Abbas’ court sentences to death a
Palestinian who fulfilled a Palestinian signed obligation to
cooperate in the fight against terrorism, Abbas continues to demand
that Israel release terrorists it has succeeded in arresting. If
Abbas was the man of peace and moderation that he is incessantly
described as being by President Bush and Secretary Rice and Prime
Minister Olmert, why would he be imprisoning someone who fights
terror while demanding that jailed terrorists go free?
In the past Yasser Arafat executed swiftly several so-called
“collaborators.” During the intifada, he threatened the late Elias
Freij, then the mayor of Bethlehem, with “ten bullets in the chest”
for the sin of calling publicly for stopping the violence. We see now
that Mahmoud Abbas is little different from Arafat.
If the PA does not release Sa’ad, Israel and the US should
immediately cease all aid and break off talks with Abbas and the PA.
There is no sense or morality in having peace negotiations with
someone who arrests or executes those who help fight terrorists while
protecting real terrorists, inciting hatred and murder that feed
terrorism and demanding that jailed terrorists go free.